Sunday, April 6, 2008

Chavez and the Bones

Came across this- Very interesting!

CARACAS, Venezuela - President Hugo Chavez said Monday that Venezuela should open the coffin of independence hero Simon Bolivar to examine the bones, saying there are sufficient doubts about his death in 1830 to warrant a full investigation.
Although history books maintain Bolivar died of tuberculosis, Chavez said doubts exist because some writings suggest it is possible the South American "Liberator" might have been murdered.
Chavez has raised this theory before, but went further during a speech on the anniversary of Bolivar's death.
"Who knows if they even made Bolivar's bones disappear? We have to determine it now," Chavez said. "We have the moral obligation to dispel this mystery, to open ... this sacred coffin and check the remains."
Chavez said it is possible Bolivar was poisoned, even though according to the traditional history Bolivar spent his last days bedridden and dying. He suggested modern "scientific advancements" — apparently DNA testing — could help determine if the remains entombed in the National Pantheon in Caracas are indeed Bolivar's.
"I swear I will not rest in the search for the real truth," Chavez said, pledging "an investigation with all the resources Venezuela can offer."
Bolivar, who liberated from Spain what is now Venezuela and several other South American countries, is an idol to Chavez and the inspiration of his Bolivarian Revolution movement

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Borrowing to Fight Crime?

IDB approves US$24.5 million loan for citizen security program in Trinidad and Tobago-
I came across this article on

Washington -- March 13, 2008 -- The Inter-American Development Bank announced today the approval of a US$24.5 million loan to Trinidad and Tobago for a citizen security program to reduce crime and violence.
The operation will focus in 22 high crime pilot communities through the financing of preventive interventions addressing the most proximal and modifiable risk factors. The program will include community action, support to the police services and the institutional strengthening of the Ministry of National Security.
“The program will contribute to the decrease in the rate of homicides, robberies and wounding in partner communities and will increase the perception of safety in the partner communities,” said IDB team leader Jorge Lamas. “It will also reduce injuries related to firearms, child maltreatment, domestic violence and youth violence; and increase the collective efficacy to prevent violence”.
The loan is for a 20-year term, with a 6 year grace period at an adjustable interest rate. Local counterpart financing will total US$10.5 million. The Ministry of National Security will carry out the program
Somehow I missed this. Maybe I am cynical but how does this program intend to cover all these very admirable points? Trinidad and Tobago will be stuck paying the interest on this loan and I can wager that there is not going to be much difference in the homicide rate. Why so negative?
Until our basic infrastructure improves- better pay for teachers, more support for the critical NGOs that are battling in the most crime infested areas, and a recognition of the importance of new schools and hospitals, we can borrow millions- the underlying problems will not change.
It's beyond sad, it's tragic.